Kohler adding hydrogen-ready hybrid self-generation plant in Italy

By Becky Schultz05 May 2023

Kohler Engines has signed an agreement with Grastim, an international specialist in high-efficiency solutions such as cogeneration, for a new hybrid self-generation plant at Kohler’s Reggio Emilia diesel engine production facility in Italy. The project integrates a 2 MW trigeneration plant and an 860 kW photovoltaic park, designed with the potential to be powered by hydrogen.

Kohler Engines Reggio The hybrid self-generation plant at the Reggio Emilia diesel engine production facility will enable a 19.5% CO2 reduction and 15% energy cost savings annually. (Photo: Kohler Engines)

Core to the hybrid self-generation plant is a Jenbacher natural gas engine distributed by Clarke Energy, a Kohler company providing engineering, design, installation and long-term maintenance of distributed energy solutions globally. The engine offers fuel flexibility, efficiency and both cost and CO2 emissions savings, Kohler Engines noted.

The plant is projected to enable a 19.5% CO2 reduction annually – equivalent to up to 1300 tonnes in energy emissions – at the Reggio Emilia site and up to a 15% energy cost savings, Kohler Engines said. It will also be designed for the future. The company said photovoltaics could be extended over parking areas and other buildings for up to an additional 2 MW, and the cogeneration module is hydrogen ready, enabling it to be powered by up to a 20% hydrogen fuel mix. Green hydrogen could also potentially be produced on-site by electrolysis, in case of excess PV production, and could be reused in the trigenerator.

The investment in the facility is part of Kohler Engines’ strategy to increasingly focus on environmental sustainability by investing in multiple technological solutions, the company stated.

“After achieving the ISO 50001 certification, our Reggio Emilia facility is further accelerating its decarbonization and energy efficiency path. We are investing in renewable and diversified energy sources – a renewal that concerns not only the development of environmentally advanced technologies for our engines, but also the programs to reduce our operational environmental footprint of our production facilities,” said Vincenzo Perrone, president of Kohler Engines.

Baldo Pavolini, investments and operations director at Grastim, expressed pride in the Italy-based company’s opportunity to propose a versatile hybrid solution “in the heart of Italy’s own Motor Valley.” The facility will “make room for subsequent technological evolutions, with a view to decarbonization and energy transition, already in the timeframe of the agreement just signed.”

“This project demonstrates the potential for hydrogen-ready gas engine CHP to combine with other low carbon power generation technologies and support cost and carbon reduction for manufacturers,” added Alex Marshall, group business development and marketing director U.S., Clarke Energy.

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